Oscar Pistorius Makes Olympic Team

South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius will compete in the individual 400 meters and the 4x400-meter relay at the London Olympics. He runs on specially-designed carbon-fiber prosthetics called Cheetahs. In 2008, Pistorius won a court battle to compete for an Olympic spot. However, he then failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.
Some scientists are not convinced that Pistorius’s current J-shaped blades don’t give him an advantage. One argument is that because the blades are so much lighter than a human leg, Pistorius can turn over, or reposition, his prosthetic legs unnaturally fast.

Since he was cleared to run against able-bodied athletes by the court in May 2008, Pistorius has made it his mission to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year. He failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but won three golds at the Paralympics in Beijing — to add to the gold and bronze he won at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. He has qualified for the London Paralympics in the 100, 200, 400 and 4x100 relay with his times at last year’s world championships.

According to his country’s qualifying standards, he needed to run at least 45.30 seconds twice in international competition this year to make the Olympic team in the individual 400 meters. He met the qualifying mark last year and again in March, but was unable to run it a second time in 2012.

Yet as the South Africa Olympic committee announced its track team for the Games on Wednesday, Pistorius was included.

Pistorius will be the first amputee to compete in track at the Olympics, although amputees have competed in other sports. Link -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Flickr user Elvar Freyr)

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If there is a standard to meet, and he meets it without excessively exceeding it -- why not? He needs to run 400 meters in 45.30 seconds. He can do that, on a good day. He qualifies. Now, if he was regularly running it in 43.0 or 40.0 seconds, then, yes, his prosthetic legs probably give him an advantage that should disqualify him. But they don't. Track is more than just legs and feet -- it's reflexes, breathing, determination, strength. Let him run.
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I wouldn't be too surprised if the paralympics became the big deal in the not too distant future, as these prosthetics continue to improve to the point that they most definitively surpass the natural human form. Normal people will be just that, normal. Juicers of the future might go so far as to cut off their own legs in order to run faster, etc.

Crazy world we are living in.
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I think it is a mistake for him to be allowed to compete in regular Olympics. Unless they can prove without a doubt that the prosthetic legs do not give an advantage then he should not be in the games. What happens if he wins a medal and 5 years from now they find that the legs do give an advantage? At least one person will have missed out on all the things that come with winning an Olympic medal.

I think it is a great story that he has been able to do as much as he has, and I think the Para Games get too little attention.
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